There’s lashings of fun and heaps of inventive adventure to be had in Gobbledigook Theatre’s hands-on adaptation of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.
George, Dick, Anne and Julian are busy packing the chaotic stage – Kirrin Cottage is being sold and they are all leaving to become adults. Sam Gannon’s bossy Dick is trying to hurry them away but Michal Horowicz’s tomboy George persuades them to reminisce one last time about how they met and their first adventure together.
Besides, there’s a whole audience full of willing volunteers to help create the sea around Kirrin Island, be licked by Ed Wren’s bouncy, raggedy puppet dog Timmy and get soaked by the storms.
Delivered in a perfectly enunciated RP, but using more modern conventions of theatre, this both harks back to a time when children could play outside with few constraints, and frames it in a world of make believe. The story is as built on retro stereotype as ever, and is set in a Peter Pan world where children have knowledge and stay children forever while adults either don’t understand or are actively malicious.
But what this lacks in depth, it makes up for in its power to create a new world on stage and tell its story with enthusiasm and conviction.